Earlier this week, a friend sent me an article that linked to two YouTube videos Ben Breedlove posted a few days before his death on Christmas Day. At just 18-years-old, Breedlove lost his life to his battle with a heart condition. Having cheated death several times, Breedlove posted his thoughts and fears when he approached that “big bright light” above him.
What struck me most about Breedlove is that he is just like all of us. Though he had a severe heart condition, he hoped that “I could be the same as everybody else. But that is one thing that I learned to live with and accept.”
At the age of 4, he cheated death for the first time and recalls when he saw that “big bright light.”
“I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. And I couldn’t help but smile,” he wrote. “I had no worries at all, like nothing else in the world mattered. And kept smiling. I can’t even describe the peace, how peaceful it was.”
In his second video, he discusses the third time he cheated death, only a few weeks before Christmas. His heart stopped for three minutes and he says, “When people’s bodies “DIE” the brain still works for a short time.”
He heard the EMS say “He’s not breathing. His heart is stopped and he has no pulse.”
Fearing his ultimate death this time, he talks of being in a white room with no walls. The same peaceful feeling he had when he was 4, only this time he was there with his favorite rapper, Kid Cudi. While looking at himself in the mirror, Breedlove says he couldn’t stop smiling and he was proud of himself, of his entire life and everything he had done.
He woke up soon after and admits that he didn’t want to leave that place, ending his video with the question, “Do you believe in angels or God?” before writing, “I do.”
I’ve always wondered about heaven and facing that “white light.” Breedlove gives us some insight into what life is like on the other side and I’m thankful for that. With nearly three million views on YouTube, many must feel the same.
As 2011 comes to a close and 2012 brings renewal and a clean start, I think it’s fitting to reflect on Breedlove’s journey and learn from his life. Additionally, I’ve come to realize this past year more than ever that life is too short to not chase after what you want and live a life where when it’s time to look into that mirror for the final time, you’re proud of your choices.